120 billion UAH for Ukraine’s leaders to ride about in Mercedes etc
In 2011 the cost of providing the country’s leaders with car transport to their (the leaders’) satisfaction will come to at least 120 billion UAH. The newspaper Segodnya [Today] decided to test how the new Public Information Law which came into effect on 9 May 2011 worked in practice, and on a subject dear to the hearts of those in power and close to the pockets of the Ukrainian taxpayer.
They learned that in the car park of the Department for the Management of Affairs [DUS – it sounds no better in Ukrainian – translator] there are 455 cars for serving the top figures in the country.
13% are rubbish vans, dump vans, trailers etc
35 vehicles are for those under the Head of DUS;
100 serve medical establishment (with medical sanatoria, etc another major expense from public funds for those in power);
75 Mercedes are to transport official delegations.
The President and his Administration have 150 cars at their disposal.
The Administration claim that since February staff have been using economy class cars.
What the President is driven around in is not revealed – “for security considerations this is considered information on limited access”. The same applies to his entourage, with the Administration saying that their number and make “depends on the President’s schedule”.
The Administration also informs that Yanukovych has not rejected the idea of flying from his – reportedly sumptuous – residence in Mezhygorye to Bankova St in the centre. The newspaper was told that the President wishes to minimize the problems for Kyiv drivers and this is one of the options being considered.
There are frequently reports in the media of ordinary drivers having been stuck for hours while the President’s cortege is expected and drives through.
In 2011 48 million 228 thousand UAH will be spent on maintaining the car park with 17.3 million of this going on salaries.
The Cabinet of Ministers and its Secretariat – 198 cars.
These include 30 Mercedes; 62 Volkswagen, and others.
Prime Minister Azarov uses two Mercedes.
The Cabinet of Ministers is allocated around 13 million UAH less than the President’s Administration (35 million 478 thousand UAH).
As mentioned, the newspaper wanted to test how the Public Information Act is working.
With hiccups, it transpired. The Cabinet of Ministers provided the information the next day; the President’s Administration (with the above-mentioned restrictions) on the fourth day (the new time limit is five working days). The Verkhovna Rada did not provide it at all.
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